Virtues and vices


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Sex and sexuality
Pornucopia

Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?

Maria Konnikova

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Gender
Male escorts

Is the growing market for male escorts a sign of female sexual liberation or just a re-run of the same old stereotypes?

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

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Ethics
How could they?

Some people are ruthless. Some lose control. Yet most violence remains unfathomable. A new theory lights up the darkness

Tage Rai

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Information and communication
And their eyes glazed over

My college students are never entirely present in class, addicted to texts and tech. Is there any hope left for learning?

Joelle Renstrom

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Addiction
Missing marijuana

When I stopped smoking weed, my appetite shrivelled and my head throbbed – but it was the dreams that really shook me

Malcolm Harris

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Information and communication
Datagasm

Ever-faster feedback loops and micro-targeted digital porn are pushing human sexuality into some seriously weird places

Mark Hay

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Virtues and vices
A handy history

Condemned, celebrated, shunned: masturbation has long been an uncomfortable fact of life. Why?

Barry Reay

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Virtues and vices
Against moral sainthood

As philosopher Susan Wolf argues, life is far more meaningful and rich if we do not aim at being morally perfect

Daniel Callcut

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Virtues and vices
Just deserts

Can we be held morally responsible for our actions? Yes, says Daniel Dennett. No, says Gregg Caruso. Reader, you decide

Daniel C Dennett & Gregg D Caruso

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Addiction
The 12-step dogma

The new science of addiction makes 12-step programmes seem like folk medicine. Is the concept of a higher power obsolete?

Rebecca Ruiz

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Pleasure and pain
When it’s good to be bad

The relentless pursuit of success is valorised in our culture, but taking the long way around is often the best

Cody Delistraty

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Ethics
Imagine there’s no jealousy

Why we should understand jealousy as nothing more than a vice that ought to be replaced by the new virtue of compersion

Luke Brunning

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Ethics
Godless yet good

There’s something in religious tradition that helps people be ethical. But it isn’t actually their belief in God

Troy Jollimore

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Love and friendship
Love your frenemy

Envy is the dark side of love, but love is the luminous side of envy. Is there a way to harness envy wisely, for growth?

Sara Protasi

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Self-improvement
The lost hope of self-help

Habits – good or bad – were once a matter of ethical seriousness. Are they now just another technology of self-absorption?

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

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Human rights and justice
What were drugs?

The war on drugs was always a war against an idea. But ideas have a shelf-life, too, and this one has lost its potency

Mike Jay

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Ethics
A touch of evil

Lying, cheating and arrogance might be morally repugnant, but a little dose of nastiness can be a creative thing

Kristin Ohlson

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Ethics
High five!

Why, in the entire history of human life, did awesomeness become the great virtue of our age (and suckiness its vice)?

Nick Riggle

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Information and communication
Know thy selfie

If Narcissus were here he’d be busy on Instagram. Can we have a virtuous sense of worth without the vanity of self-love?

Simon Blackburn

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Ethics
The good zombie

The new zombie still eats brains, but it can think, emote and even fall in love. Why zombies with heart are on the rise

Davia Sills